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Monday, March 31, 2014, 12:46pm
“We’re not disappointed in what his production was last year at all," Fisher said. "One of the things that was misleading was he had two or three returns called back -- one against Dallas --and then he got hurt. I think another year in the program, in the offense, OTAs, training camp, you’ll see more production. I think we’ll do a better job of using him now that we know what he’s capable of doing. Kind of looking forward to see him improve from year one to year two.’’
For the most part, Austin was a fantasy disappointment outside of a couple of games. He broke 50 receiving yards just one time last year, and that was his two-catch, 138 yard, 2 TD performance against the Colts. He had a rushing TD for 65 yards and another rush for 56 yards that didn't go for a TD, plus one kick return for a touchdown. He has a good chance to build on that this year assuming Fisher is correct about realizing how to use him.
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Monday, March 31, 2014, 12:37pm
After nearly 5 months of rehab from a torn right ACL, Browns QB Brian Hoyer is ready to prove himself yet again to a new coaching staff led by Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer, knowing full well that they are considering replacing him with a rookie quarterback in May.
Hoyer threw for five TDs in two-plus games before getting hurt for the season. The Browns had liked him heading into last year, but needed to give Brandon Weeden a chance as the starter. But when Weeden got hurt, Hoyer moved past QB2 Jason Campbell on the depth chart to start against the Vikings in Week 3. Hoyer threw 3 TDs that game but also 3 INTs. However, there's a new coaching staff in town and the Browns appear poised to draft a QB in April, so the former Tom Brady backup is going to have to earn the job.
Monday, March 31, 2014, 10:19am
The Steelers are committed to Le'Veon Bell as their feature back -- as they should be -- and the former second-round draft pick will get the majority of the carries assuming he builds on a stellar rookie campaign.
Blount does provide the Steelers much-needed insurance behind Bell.
With another ball-carrier who packs a punch, the Steelers can reduce some of the wear and tear on Bell by incorporating Blount into the running game.
That could prolong Bell’s career, and in the short-term it would allow the Steelers to wear down defenses by hammering them with two big running backs.
At this point, Blount looks like a solid handcuff to Bell. He could also get short yardage and goal line touches like he did at times in New England, taking away a little of Bell's fantasy value - but that remains to be seen. Blount isn't without his risks and can still turn the ball over, but the signing gives the Steelers a solid option if something should happen to Bell.
Doug Martin medically cleared
Monday, March 31, 2014, 9:30am
Bucs RB Doug Martin announced he's been medically cleared from a torn labrum that cost him the entire second half of the 2013 season.
Martin confirmed in a tweet that he's officially cleared. Head coach Lovie Smith added over the weekend the team will lean on Martin this season, but also likes the other backs - as Mike James and Bobby Rainey both proved worthy in their time last year and will probably take away some work. Martin will likely slip a little from his top-three RB ranking a year ago, but should fall in the low-end RB1, high-end RB2 area.
Monday, March 31, 2014, 9:05am
Sunday, March 30, 2014, 7:53pm
They held internal discussions on Jackson, with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg giving his blessing. Mornhinweg, who coached him with the Philadelphia Eagles, told people in the organization that Jackson -- known for his bad-boy reputation -- wouldn't be a problem in the locker room. That apparently wasn't enough to sway Idzik, who reportedly hadn't reached out to Jackson's agent as of Saturday.
Jackson is scheduled to visit Monday with the Washington Redskins. The Oakland Raiders might be interested as well. It's also been reported Sunday that the Bills are looking into Jackson. In another update, the Chiefs are reportedly out of the sweepstakes. Interesting that those with perhaps the closest ties to Jackson, like the Chiefs with Andy Reid and Jets with Michael Vick and Mornhinweg, seem to have distanced themselves from the WR...
Sunday, March 30, 2014, 1:40pm
Barring a setback, Jake Locker will be the starter at QB for the Titans. Former Chargers backup Charlie Whitehurst replaces Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tyler Wilson is under contract. Rusty Smith is a free agent.
The Titans are unlikely to pick up the option year on Locker's contract, so this is probably his make-or-break season. If he makes great strides, the Titans will try to re-sign him to an extension, but they need to protect themselves by developing another quarterback.
Locker began to show promise last year but got hurt. The author thinks the Titans could take a QB later in the draft, but either way, this will be a key year for Locker.
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 7:38pm
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett answered a question about the team's WRs.
There’s probably a good chance the Saints will add another veteran. They showed interest in free agent Sidney Rice, and they could always re-sign Robert Meachem, whom they like for both his downfield speed and blocking ability. But those moves would be for depth. They’re certainly not in a panic over the top jobs right now. They’re very comfortable with Marques Colston and Kenny Stills as their two starters.
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 7:32pm
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 6:06pm
Bucs RB Doug Martin says he's "about to get cleared" regarding his shoulder injury. Should be good to go for OTAs on April 7.
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 2:28pm
As many as 6-7 teams are reportedly interested in Jackson, and we can make direct links to at least three of them - Jets, Chiefs and Raiders. Whichever team gets him lands a WR coming off a 1,300-yard season with 9 TDs and great speed, but it's the off-field issues that obviously got him to this point.
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 2:23pm
During his extensive review of video of Griffin’s games the past two years, Gruden has come to the conclusion that the young dual-threat quarterback has the capability to execute almost any type of scheme.
“It’s fun to have a guy like Robert because I think there’s really not much that I can throw at him that he can’t do. I think he can do it all,” Gruden said.
Gruden says Griffin will have a degree of involvement in the planning of the offense this offseason. He wants his quarterback to have the greatest comfort level possible, because comfort leads to confidence, which leads to better execution. That doesn’t mean the coaches will not challenge Griffin to expand his game and sharpen his skills, however. And that doesn’t mean Griffin will have a full say on the offense.
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 2:20pm
Bucs kicker Connor Barth said he is completely healed from an Achilles injury that cost him the 2014 season. "I'm making 61-yard field goals," he said.
Saturday, March 29, 2014, 2:18pm
The Dolphins now have a full group of tailbacks that includes Knowshon Moreno, Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, Mike Gillislee and Marcus Thigpen. Not all five tailbacks are going to make the 53-man roster.
The most the Dolphins would keep is four running backs. Moreno and Miller, last year's starter, are locks. Thigpen has versatility as Miami's primary kick returner and also experimented a little at wide receiver. Position flexibility is important to Miami third-year head coach Joe Philbin, and that could help Thigpen stick.
Most likely, Miami would have to choose between Thomas and Gillislee.
Thomas is a former draft bust who never lived up to his potential. He was a second-round pick by former Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland in 2011. But Thomas' career high is 581 rushing yards during his rookie year. Gillislee didn't get to show much his rookie year in 2013, but there is always that potential factor that he would have going for him.
Friday, March 28, 2014, 8:39pm
“Let’s make him a wideout,” Palmer said.
“No,” Arians responded. “We can use him as a wideout as a running back.”
“He is still not a guy who you will pound up the middle 30 times a game and survive,” Arians said. “He can run the football 30 times a game if you do it correctly, but you’d rather have him have 10 catches and 20 carries."
That would be 30 touches, which is a far different tune than the Cardinals sang with Ellington last year as they tried to limit him to about 15. He's shaping up to be a very desirable player, especially in PPR leagues.